In developed countries we are used to going to the supermarket to buy animal produce: chicken, fish, beef and pork. We enter an area that has been cooled and the product we are buying has been cleaned and wrapped in clear plastic. The air smells clean and fresh. Our hands do not touch the animal flesh. We have been distanced from the sight and smells of the raw meat.
When vacationing in Mauritius, I took the opportunity to take my children to an open meat market. I wanted them to experience how others buy their meat produce; and to realise that not everyone selects their meat from the freezers and fridges in the supermarket. The first section we walked into was where they sell the chicken. The building is cool, made with brick, but it is not refrigerated. Chickens are on display for customers to choose.
Fresh fish is also on sale – fish that one hopes was taken out of the sea waters that morning by fishermen. They are arranged for display on the cold metal slabs, tempting buyers who are searching for fresh seafood for their dinner.
We left the building which housed the fresh fish stock and walked into the one that houses the beef, pork and other red meats. The first thing the children commented on was the pungent smell. And the number of flies that were buzzing around! The displays are not as hygienic as found in the supermarkets we are used to frequenting.
But even though the meat market had an antiquated feel about it, much variety was on display. The rack of sausages showed that the butchers had a large variety to offer their customers:
The butchers laid out many cuts of meat to tempt the shoppers and those passing by.
What was interesting to see was the old-fashioned scale that is still in use by the butchers when weighing any product that is sold: an old-fashioned piece of equipment that is still seen to be a part of everyday shopping in this part of the world.
After the gloom and intense smells of the meat market, we walked outside to smell the cleaner air and take in the colours of the road outside. (You can take a look at what we saw outside the meat market by visiting a previous post).
Would you buy any animal products at an open meat market like this one?
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012